Associated Press

GOP Wants Cooper Fundraiser with Lawyers Scrutinized

The North Carolina Republican Party is questioning a fundraiser Gov. Roy Cooper held at a trial lawyers’ convention, but Cooper’s campaign says the event complied with state law and the GOP complaint is baseless. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes asked state election officials Wednesday to investigate Cooper’s event in mid-June at a Sunset Beach resort where the North Carolina Advocates for Justice was holding its annual meetings. The General Assembly was still in session at the time, so Advocates for Justice or its political action committee could not give to Cooper’s campaign or solicit donations. Hayes’ complaint says the fact...

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N Carolina Gov’t Leaders Put More Meat on Medicaid Proposal

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has unveiled more details about its vision for overhauling North Carolina’s Medicaid program for 1.8 million recipients and the medical community. The Department of Health and Human Services released a draft report Tuesday for the program it would like to operate starting in mid-2019. A 2015 state law directed Medicaid move from reimbursing providers for each service performed to paying a flat amount for each patient covered by new managed-care companies or local networks. Federal regulators must sign off on changes. Tuesday’s roadmap would require more General Assembly approval because it would end existing...

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Pfizer to Invest $100 Million in N Carolina for Gene Therapy

Biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. plans to invest $100 million in a North Carolina plant to focus on a process by which genetic material is introduced to counter defective or missing genes. The company confirmed Gov. Roy Cooper’s news on Monday that it will expand its Sanford operations in preparation for producing gene therapy medicines based on technology developed at UNC-Chapel Hill. Cooper’s news release says the investment will lead to 40 new jobs. Pfizer last year bought a Chapel Hill-based company developing gene-therapy treatment for neuromuscular conditions and diseases affecting the central nervous system. Pfizer is also planning to...

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Speakers Want Less Politics in Redrawn N Carolina Districts

Critics of Republican maps of North Carolina legislative districts struck down by federal courts are pleading with GOP lawmakers to leave out partisan considerations when they draw new boundaries and approve them this month. Nearly all of the 30 speakers at a General Assembly redistricting committee meeting Friday lamented the current maps approved in 2011. They asked GOP committee leaders to ignore past election results and where incumbents live when new boundaries are created so more legislative elections are competitive. The boundary criteria will be finalized next week. The legislature reconvenes Aug. 18 to begin remapping. Federal judges found...

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Island Stores, Cafes Prep for Tourist Return

Stores and restaurants were chopping vegetables and stocking their seafood counters to get ready for tourists returning to two North Carolina islands after a massive power outage. Buxton Seafood owner Nicholas Wolosuk said he went fishing Friday morning so he could offer fresh seafood as visitors return after noon to Hatteras Island. He also made a special hour-long drive off the island to shop at a seafood supplier to get ready. To the south on Ocracoke Island, the kitchen staff at the Back Porch restaurant were chopping vegetables and making sauces in preparation to open on Saturday. Owner Daphne...

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Utility Plans to Restore Island Power by Weekend

Utility officials say they expect to restore power to two North Carolina islands by the weekend. Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative issued a statement that it expects to have the power back on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands by Friday or Saturday. A previous estimate had predicted restoration by early next week. The statement says crews were finishing work connecting overhead cables Thursday morning and were working on connecting the power. Next, testing will need to be done. The outage began a week ago during early morning work on a bridge between islands. The construction company building the bridge damaged underground...

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Vetoed Bills Sent to Committee, More Votes Later

The North Carolina legislature gaveled in and gaveled out a session designed for lawmakers to consider vetoes by Gov. Roy Cooper that he issued since they were last in town. But lawmakers did not vote on whether to override them. The House and Senate reconvened Thursday morning and clerks read aloud Cooper’s objections to four bills he vetoed. Speaker Tim Moore sent those House bills to a committee, where they are not expected to emerge until next month. That’s because dozens of colleagues were absent Thursday. The session ended in 45 minutes. Legislators were expected to hold another session...

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Company Blamed for Outer Banks Power Outage Facing Lawsuits

Lawsuits are pending against a construction company blamed for a power outage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, forcing visitors off the beaches and leaving tourist-dependent businesses without income. At least three lawsuits filed this week seek compensation from PCL Construction. Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday he believes the company responsible should pay for damages once all the facts are known. Lawsuits filed in state and federal courts say the company building the long-needed replacement bridge over Oregon Inlet was negligent and should pay for the financial losses suffered by businesses at the peak of vacation season. About 50,000 tourists...

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Judges: No Special Elections for Redrawn NC Districts

Federal judges have rejected a request to hold special elections next March in state legislative districts once new lines are drawn to eliminate illegal racial gerrymandering. The three-judge panel issued its order late Monday. It means the next General Assembly elections won’t occur until November 2018. But the judges did tell Republican lawmakers that they’ll have to approve new House and Senate boundaries by this September — at least two months earlier than the time GOP leaders sought. The three judges told lawmakers to draw the new maps by Sept. 1 but wrote that they would extend the deadline...

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N Carolina Democrats Have Early Big Money Lead for Campaigns

The North Carolina Democratic Party has a large, early fundraising advantage over Republicans thanks to intensive efforts by Gov. Roy Cooper and others to try to take General Assembly control away from the GOP. The state Democratic Party raised nearly $1.7 million in the first half of the year. The North Carolina Republican Party total is one-fourth that amount. Democrats had $1.9 million in cash on hand while Republicans had $182,000. Figures were in campaign reports due last Friday. Cooper and party leaders already announced raising over $1 million for state House and Senate campaigns. The next elections are...

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